Man, credit card company in dispute over unpaid $0.00 credit card bill

March 25, 2010

Ponderings from Pluto has no idea if this story’s really true, but it sure is hilarious…

Jim had always prided himself on paying all of his bills on time. Especially his credit cards, since he knew he’d pay heavy penalties if the bills weren’t paid in time. A few months passed and he chose not to use his credit card.

Despite not using it, Jim received a statement in the mail showing no activity on his credit card. The statement also told him he had until the fifth of the next month to pay his credit card bill of $0.00.

Jim put the statement in his records but thought nothing of it.

Then, the next month, he received another statement from his credit card company stating his current bill was $0.00 and his past-due bill was $0.00 and that he now owed $0.00. They expected payment immediately.

Jim stared at the statement for a while and decided to call the credit card company. They verified he owed nothing on the account and attributed the erroneous bill to a computer error and assured him all was fine.

The next month, Jim received another notice in the mail, this one from a debt collections agency. They informed him he was delinquent on his credit card bill and that to avoid an adverse mark on his credit report, he was to immediately pay $0.00 to the debt collection company, as his credit card company had grown tired of dealing with him.

As a joke, Jim used the enclosed envelope to write down he was paying $0.00 and then sent in nothing, figuring that would be the end of it.

It wasn’t. Jim started receiving calls for debt collectors telling him he needed to pay the $0.00. Would he rather pay it outright, pay a settlement amount or make payment arrangements.

Exasperated, Jim asked if he could mail them a check. They agreed. Jim mailed a check to the debt collector for $0.00 and in a week received a notice confirming the receiving of the check and that the account was paid in full.

Jim thought everything had returned to normal until a few days later he was in his driveway doing yard work. A car pulled up and a beautiful woman got out and walked towards him. She was tall and statuesque and wore a t-shirt and shorts. Are you Jim Ellis? she asked.

Though married, Jim couldn’t resist the chance to get in a little good-natured flirting. Why, yes, ma’am, I am Jim Ellis, he replied.

The woman walked towards him and as she came right up to him, she reached into her back pocket and produced several folded-up papers. She gave them to him, and Jim absently reached out and accepted them.

Congratulations, Jim Ellis, the woman said, smiling and walking back towards her car. You’ve been served.

Jim read the documents and saw his bank had frozen his account and was suing him for $7,000. His check of $0.00 to the debt collectors had caused his bank’s check-processing software to crash (apparently, since banks figure nobody’s stupid enough to write a check for $0.00, there’s no reason to program computers to deal with them). It then took computer technicians almost a week to get the bank’s computers back working again.

Moral of the story? Follow Dave Ramsey’s advice and don’t have any credit cards.

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